I spent a lot of this past summer without my guitar. I was on the road, in planes, in hotels, just not places conducive to focus on my guitar and even though I was missing it, feeling guilty and worried that I would lose ground, I kept on with my summer activities and enjoyed them.
And now I’m back home, on a more normal schedule and finally my finger nails are guitar groomed and last week Jonathan used a lot of my lesson time to replace my strings on both guitars so that I am starting clean and fresh.
But it’s hard to get back on track, hard to harness my fingers on the fret board, hard to remember the music, hard to preserve through a practice routine. Just hard.
And my lesson this week was a mountain to climb, but Jonathan was ready for me with patience, patience I didn’t have for myself.
Yes, I did practice a few times before my Monday lesson and I did feel I was making some progress, but as I started to play for Jonathan, I had a brain freeze, even with pieces I’ve been recently working on.
As I began “Schindler’s List”, a piece that’s been much harder than I ever thought it would be I couldn’t move beyond the first measure and I tried to move on, but the steady hand of an experienced teacher held me back and forced me to work small, one measure, two… repeated… again… then slowly adding more but repeating, returning…
As frustrated as I was, he was cool, steady, firm. “No, don’t go further yet.” I just wanted it all back, especially when I had so much just the night before, but of course, as a good student, I listened even if he knew I didn’t want to… he ignored that and kept me with him… until, slowly, I got it back but instead of moving beyond, I needed to be focused in the moment.
Does this sound familiar? As I write this I’m remembering what it was to keep my kids focused,moving slowly…keeping them engaged in the moment.
It’s a pleasure to be learning. As a pleasure to be preparing for a recital. The process is the thing. That’s what I loved about directing high school theater. I loved the process, even more than the production. That was for the kids who worked hard to publish to an audience. For me, I loved the creation and so it will be with this next period of play.
As I drove up to New Paltz I played my recital playlist of 10 pieces performed by the best guitarists and I often teared up as I listened
Once again, it’s the creative process, not the production that I love best.
Hey, I need to play tonight!